Reducing heat from direct sun
- ADJUSTABLE EXTERNAL WINDOW SHADES - such as blinds, awnings or louvers allow you to shade rooms. External shading is much more effective than internal shading as it blocks the sun's heat before it gets inside your home.
- EAVES (OR ROOF OVERHANGS) ABOVE NORTH-FACING WINDOWS - can be designed to stop direct sunlight entering rooms at the height of summer, but allow direct light in the rest of the year. They won’t help you with low-angled morning and afternoon sun from the east and west.
- DECIDUOUS TREES PLANTED ON NORTH AND WEST SIDES OF YOUR HOME - provide shade. You can also use trellises for growing plants to shade your windows.
Ceiling and roof vents use the sun’s heat to draw hot air out of your house. In traditional Barbadian Chattel houses small awning type louvered windows were placed under the the point of the roof. They helped to reduce heat build-up in the roof and ceiling.
Ceiling and floor standing fans are relatively cheap to buy and install, and are cheaper to run than air conditioning. They're especially good if you only get a week or two of extremely hot days during the year.
Circulating fans create a wind chill effect that will make you more comfortable in your home, even if it's also cooled by natural ventilation or air-conditioning. However, remember to turn off fans when you leave the room. Fans cool people, not rooms.
An inverter air conditioner is used to control the speed of the compressor motor to drive variable refrigerant flow in an air conditioning system to regulate the conditioned-space temperature. When the inverter air conditioning is switched on, the compressor operates at a high speed in order to cool or heat the room quickly. As the room temperature approaches the set temperature, the compressor slows down, maintaining a constant temperature and saving energy.
USING YOUR AIR-CONDITIONER WISELY
There are a number of ways to make sure your air conditioner will cool as effectively and as cheaply as possible.
- Try using just the fan - air conditioners have a fan only setting which can help create cross-droughts in your home. Keep your windows open while using the fan only mode.
- Use the dehumidifying mode - if it’s the humidity rather than the temperature that’s the problem. This mode uses less electricity than the full cooling mode. Shut your doors and windows in the rooms you're dehumidifying.
- Only use cooling mode on really hot days - when the other methods aren't enough. Shut all your doors and windows in the rooms you're cooling. It's best to just cool one room as this is what most air conditioners are sized for. Set the thermostat to around 22˚C. The room won't cool down any quicker if you set it lower, but you are likely to use more electricity by over cooling.
- Avoid using auto settings - if you forget to switch the unit off it will start heating if the temperature drops below the thermostat setting.